Between Weeks 10 and 13, it is not that unusual for teams to take the week off and turn in a shocking loss where they did not show up. They are impossible to forecast and yet can have significant impacts on the fantasy players. Even if they don’t lose, teams will just play flat and others come off their bye and look like they still needed more rest.
Worst of all, this is the time of year that teams end up with more low-scoring games. And that means their fantasy players likely disappointed.
The Packers game had snow but it didn’t impact the game much. From now on, the weather will be a consideration as winter starts to move in and field conditions decline.
ATL 26, NO 9
Well. Wasn’t this a surprise? The Saints came off their bye (sort of) and proved that any team, at any time, can turn in a trash game. The Saints faced the worst secondary in the NFL and yet Drew Brees – at home – was limited to only 287 yards and no touchdowns. Michael Thomas caught 13 passes for 152 yards and Jared Cook ended with six receptions for 74 yards. Alvin Kamara (completely healthy) only ran for 24 yards on four rushes and added eight catches for 50 yards. Latavius Murray had one more carry than Kamara but only gained 12 yards. Again – go figure.
Matt Ryan won and yet only threw for 182 yards and scores to Austin Hooper (4-17, TD) and Brian Hill (1-10, TD). Julio Jones (3-79) was the only Falcon with more than 28 receiving yards. Devonta Freeman left with an ankle injury and Brian Hill turned in 61 yards on 20 carries. The Falcons really did nothing special and no player had a very notable game. But the realities of a trash game meant the Saints trailed from the second quarter on and never scored a touchdown. At home. Against a truly bad defense.
DET 13, CHI 20
The Lions scratched Matt Stafford and Jeff Driskel passed for 269 yards but only one score to Kenny Golladay (3-57, TD) and one interception. Ty Johnson left with a concussion so the top Detriot running back for now is J.D. McKissic who totaled 55 yards. Marvin Jones was the top receiver with five catches for 77 yards but the Lions had almost no rushing offense and a marginal passing effort with Driskel under center.
Mitchell Trubisky threw for three touchdowns though only 137 yards since he only had 23 passing attempts. Allen Robinson (6-86) was the top receiver while Taylor Gabriel (4-39, TD) and Tarik Cohen (4-23, TD) both had quiet days lifted by the scores. David Montgomery rushed for 60 yards on 17 carries but never had a target. It was a low-scoring effort for both teams but at least the Bears had no turnovers and secured the home win thanks in part to Stafford taking the day off.
LAR 12, PIT 17
Yeah, what a bounty of fantasy points. The Rams could get little going and their points reflect a fumble recovery for a touchdown, a safety and just one field goal by the offense. Jared Goff threw for 243 yards and two interceptions. Robert Woods (7-95) and Gerald Everett (8-68) were the only receivers with more than 50 yards. Todd Gurley rushed for 73 yards on 12 carries but failed to catch any of his four targets. The Steelers defense played very well but the Rams were just uninspired and flat. Goff only completed 22 of 41 passes.
Mason Rudolph passed for 242 yards and one score to his college buddy James Washington (6-90, TD) and Diontea Johnson (4-64) were effective but JuJu Smith-Schuster only managed three catches for 44 yards. Jalen Samuels was held to 29 yards on 14 catches and only added three receptions for 11 yards. James Washington was the best fantasy play in the game but by now, he’s riding fantasy benches and waiver wires. The Steelers got the win but there was nothing pretty here.
BAL 49, CIN 13
Ryan Finley’s debut could have gone better. The rookie passed for 167 yards and one score with one interception in a game that the Bengals immediately and permanently and significantly trailed. Joe Mixon ran for 114 yards with 30 carries and added two receptions for 37 for the rare good performance. Tyler Boyd (6-62) wasn’t terrible but all other receivers were. Tyler Eifert did catch a touchdown but ended with only two catches for 20 yards.
The best part of the Ravens easy win was that all the fantasy players showed up. Lamar Jackson ran for 65 yards and a touchdown plus passed for 223 yards and three touchdowns. Marquise Brown (4-80, TD) finally had a notable day and Mark Andrews (6-52, 2 TD) enjoyed his first two-touchdown game. Even Nick Boyle (4-78) produced a career-high mark in yardage. Mark Ingram only ran nine times but gained 34 yards and scored once. The Ravens also scored on both an interception return and a fumble recovery.
BUF 16, CLE 19
Plenty exciting for a Browns fan, not so much for everyone else. Josh Allen threw for 266 yards and no scores but ran in two touchdowns on his six rushes for 28 yards. That left Devin Singletary with only eight runs for 42 yards and Frank Gore still was given five runs for 12 yards. The only notable receivers were John Brown (5-77) and Cole Beasley (4-74). The Bills tried to tie with a 53-yard field goal with 17 seconds left but Steven Hauschka was wide left.
Nick Chubb ran for 116 yards on 20 carries and caught two passes for five yards. Kareem Hunt debuted to four runs for 30 yards and seven receptions for 44 yards. His nine targets were only behind Jarvis Landry (9-97, TD) and Odell Beckham (5-57). Landry fielded ten targets while Beckham had a team-high 12 targets but only caught five. Baker Mayfield threw two scores and produced 238 passing yards and most importantly, had no interceptions. Close game, not many fireworks but Hunt jumped into the game plan in his first game.
NYG 27, NYJ 34
They only had three wins between them, so at least the Jets got to rise to 2-7. The Jets benefitted by a fumble return touchdown and never had a turnover of their own. Sam Darnold only threw for 230 yards and one score to Jamison Crowder (5-81, TD) and Demaryius Thomas (6-84) led the receivers. Le’Veon Bell ran for 34 yards and a score on 18 carries and added four catches for 34 yards. The Jets won with 13 unanswered points starting at the end of the third quarter.
The Giants only had Saquon Barkley gain one yard on 13 carries and caught five passes for 30 yards. The offensive line was missing three starters and it showed. Daniel Jones racked up 308 passing yards and four touchdowns between Darius Slayton (10-121, 2 TD) and Golden Tate (4-95, 2 TD). No other Giants receiver gained more than 16 yards. It is a positive that Jones could connect with his wideouts so well, but in the end, it wasn’t enough and they had no rushing offense for support.
ARI 27, TB 30
Plenty of fantasy points in this one, just as expected. Kyler Murray threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns and added 38 yards on three runs. Christian Kirk enjoyed a career-best three scores on his six receptions for 138 yards. Andy Isabella caught another long pass and ended with 78 yards on three catches that included a 55-yard gain. Even Larry Fitzgerald (8-71) showed some life after declining for many weeks. The painful part of this game was that David Johnson was back, sort of, but only ran for two yards on five carries and caught one pass for eight yards. Kenyan Drake was given ten rushes for 35 yards and he caught six passes for six total yards.
Jameis Winston ended with 358 passing yards and one score to… Wow… O.J. Howard (4-47, TD). Mike Evans (4-82) and Chris Godwin (6-74) had just moderate production. Peyton Barber (11-43, TD) and Ronald Jones (11-29, TD) split the rushing duties but Jones went on to catch a team-high eight passes for 77 yards. The Cardinals own the worst defense against tight ends so Howard wasn’t a total surprise. But his production lowered both Evans and Godwin.
MIA 16, IND 12
Another low scoring upset. The Colts made Jacoby Brissett inactive so Brian Hoyer took over and threw for 204 yards and one score with three interceptions. Eric Ebron (5-56) and Jack Doyle (3-44, TD) were the only receivers of any note and Maron Mack ran for 74 yards on 19 carries. He only added one catch for 38 yards in this home game where the offense struggled against the Dolphins. This was another trash game and while they had to rely on Hoyer, he threw for three touchdowns last week in Pittsburgh.
The Dolphins hardly excelled. Ryan Fitzpatrick only totaled 169 passing yards and one interception. DeVante Parker (5-69) was the top receiver and no one else gained more than 32 yards. Kalen Ballage is the
last man standing newest primary back and only gained 43 yards on 20 rushes with two yards on four catches. This snore-fest was two touchdowns and a handful of field goals. But hey – the Dolphins two-game winning streak is longer than all but two other AFC teams.
CAR 16, GB 24
On a day with so many flat performances and upsets, this went off as expected with several players delivering the fantasy points. Kyle Allen ended with 307 passing yards and one score to Curtis Samuel (4-35, TD). DJ Moore (9-120) and Greg Olsen (8-98) both turned in better than usual games and Christian McCaffrey ran for 108 yards and a score on 20 rushes. He added six catches for 33 yards. The Panthers are not very diverse. Only five players caught a pass and just one ran the ball.
Aaron Rodgers totaled just 233 passing yards with no touchdowns. Davante Adams (7-118) and even Jimmy Graham (2-59) were tops as receivers but no other wideouts gained more than 27 yards. Both Geronimo Allison (3-6) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (no catch) are mere afterthoughts by now. Aaron Jones had yet another monster game with 93 yards and three touchdown son his 13 carries. Jamaal Williams also had 13 carries and gained 63 yards. The Packers were mostly content to let the backfield control the game.
MIN 28, DAL 24
Yet another upset though it came down to four plays from the Vikings 19-yard line with under a minute to play. They only gained five yards. Ezekiel Elliott ran for only 47 yards on 20 carries for a career-worst in a home game. He added just two catches for 16 yards. Dak Prescott threw for 397 yards and three touchdowns between Amari Cooper (11-147, TD), Randall Cobb (6-106, TD), and Michael Gallup (4-76, TD). The loss evens up the NFC East at 5-4 with the Eagles.
Not unlike most games, Dalvin Cook took over with 97 yards and a score on 26 carries and was the leading receiver with seven catches for 87 yards. Adam Thielen was out and Stefon Diggs only managed 49 yards on three catches as the next best receiver. Kirk Cousins only totaled 220 passing yards and both scores ended up with Kyle Rudolph (4-14, 2 TD). The biggest difference in the game was that the Vikings stopped Elliott but the Cowboys had no answer for Cook.
KC 32, TEN 35
High-scoring, all the right players turned in good performances and it was an upset. It’s a fantasy football delight.
Patrick Mahomes certainly looked back to form with 446 passing yards and three touchdowns. Tyreek Hill (11-157, TD), Travis Kelce (7-75, TD), and Mecole Hardman (1-63, TD) all rewarded their fantasy owners. Sammy Watkins caught five passes but only gained 39 yards but he’s been pretty unreliable for a long time. LeSean McCoy was a surprise healthy scratch but had fallen from favor for several weeks. Damien Williams ran for 77 yards on 19 rushes and added 32 yards on five receptions for a respectable day. The notable was that Damien Williams is being used as a workhorse back again.
Ryan Tannehill passed for 181 yards and two scores but only threw 19 passes, completing 13. Adam Humphries scored on his only catch in the game. The Titans relied on Derrick Henry who ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns with two catches for three yards. He scored on a 68-yard run in the third quarter.
The Chiefs led 29-20 at the start of the fourth quarter but the Titans would score two touchdowns against just one field goal for the Chiefs. The final touchdown came with 29 seconds remaining when Tannehill completed a 23-yard touchdown catch by Adam Humphries. The Chiefs ran the ball to their 38-yard line on the kickoff and with only three seconds left, Harrison Butker had his 52-yard field goal attempt blocked.